Madi and Sam Karr are twin sisters. Like a lot of twins, doing similar things and spending a lot of time together has become second nature to them. That won’t change in August when they pack the car and head west to Mount Union University in Ohio.
They are sharing a room.
“We haven’t done that in a while, but we’ll get used to it,” Sam said.
They are both majoring in pre-med. Madi hopes to be a medical examiner, while Sam’s interest right now is occupational therapy. Both agreed they chose the major so they aren’t “stuck” with one career choice in case they change their minds.
And like they’ve done for what seems like forever, they will both play on the same sports team.
Madi and Sam will report to school in mid-August and begin practicing with the Purple Raiders, a Division III team that finished 17-2 and qualified for the 2019 NCAA lacrosse tournament, losing in the second round.
“Madi and Sam stood out as two very athletically gifted, talented and hardworking lacrosse players,” Mount Union head coach Emily Fisher said. “Most importantly, they are stellar students and genuine people. I am so excited to see them excel on and off the field at Mount Union.”
When the twins do head off to college, they will do so knowing they have left an indelible mark on the Newark Charter’s lacrosse program – and not just by tallying nearly 400 goals between the two of them.
“I think they brought unwavering dedication, strength, cohesiveness and positivity every single day,” Newark Charter co-head coach Christine Wallace said. “I think they were a big piece of the puzzle that kept the team grounded and focused throughout practices and games. These two phenomenal players have set a bar for our program. I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work over the past five years on this growing varsity program.”
Madi and Sam started playing lacrosse in fourth grade for the then-Newark Youth Lacrosse, which is now the Silverbacks. It was not unusual for the two to play on the same team since that’s the way it had always been and always would be, with the exception of one season.
“We both played volleyball one season but then Sam continued without me the next year,” Madi recalled. “I didn’t like the sport.”
The twins played other team sports like soccer and basketball, but also branched out to more individualized sports including horseback riding and figure skating.
“Figure skating didn’t last long,” Madi said with a chuckle.
Both played basketball for the Patriots, but they decided early on in their high school careers that if they played a sport in college, it would be lacrosse. And it was more or a less a given that it would be at the same school.
“Ever since we started playing, we wanted to play together,” Madi said. “We were on the fence about playing, but then we found Mount Union and we liked it there and so we figured we would play lacrosse.”
The girls both liked the fact that as a Division III school Mount Union, focuses on the true sense of the term “student-athlete.”
“First, the coach. She reached out to both of us and brought us out there,” Sam explained of what attracted her to Mount Union. “She was very kind and welcoming. A plus side was the academic program.”
“They are really kind people,” she recalled of their visit. “The focus is more academic than athletics. A lot of schools we looked at wanted a lot of time spent on athletics and not much time for academics. We wanted a balance, and they gave us that balance.”
It’s a balance that they are used to after spending their years at Newark Charter. It was a major period in their lives that they will miss, but feel helped prepare them for the next step in both their athletic and academic careers.
“The team developed really good team dynamics having played together for a long time. I’ll miss that,” Madi said. “Academically, I’ll miss being pushed. In college, they are not as strict about doing homework. Newark Charter School did that, and it made you better.”
“I’ll miss my teammates for both sports, lacrosse and basketball,” Sam added. “You have longstanding friendships with the teammates on both teams.”
Like any move to college, challenges await in the classroom and on the field, and it’s those aspects that excite the twins the most.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to improve and I feel like having a new experience will be a lot fun,” Madi said. “I hope to further myself academically and go do what I want to do and do my best with academics.”
“They have a great program, so I’m looking forward to adding to it,” she said. “With lacrosse teams in college, you have an instant family, so you automatically know people so they can help you figure college life out. I’m hoping to really find out what I want to do, occupational therapy or not, by exploring different things and really just keep learning.”
Both players were big fish in a small pond at Newark Charter, and so it’s only natural that when they head to Ohio, they will do so with a touch of nerves.
“It’s kind of nerve-racking but then again it’s exciting,” Sam said. “But I’m going to do it with my sister, so it takes away the homesickness aspect. But it’s still going to be nerve-racking since it’s a new environment.”
Each admitted the most comforting part is they will go through the experience together.
“I always have a best friend,” Madi said about having a twin sister. “It’s the best.”
Sam quickly agreed.
“You always have someone there who can help you with anything,” she said.
Life has always been that way for Madi and Sam, and there’s no reason to think that a temporary move to Ohio is going to change that. In fact, most like, nothing ever will.
“Being a twin means I’ll always have a best friend,” Sam added.
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